*This is a guest post from Alden Tan from Alden-Tan.com*
I have a confession to make. I hate it when everyone has their eyes on me. It makes me feel totally awkward and anxious.
Yet I encounter this situation on a regular basis.
Why? Because I’m a Bboy. You know, a breakdancer who can spin on his head and wow the crowd with gravity-defying moves.
Bboying is an imperfect art that always asks for perfection. It requires constant practice. You can’t slack off or else you are just get left behind.
It also forces us to overcome our fear in order to be great. A Bboy needs to showcase himself in a cipher (a dance circle) and take part in battles and competitions.
That’s when your real abilities are put to the test.
But beneath this layer of supposed awesomeness and dynamic movements is an unseen conflict. Nobody sees the hard work and effort we constantly put in; nobody sees the fear that lies inside of us.
Watch this great video to see what goes on behind the scenes:
Paranoid Android, a well-known Bboy practising alone in his garage.
Progress isn’t always linear
Needless to say, a Bboy is always honing his craft. He practices all the time just so he can improve.
I personally put in up to 12 hours a week practising.
Some sessions are great: I just feel the music and execute all my moves perfectly. But some sessions are lousy. I can’t do anything properly. My body feels lethargic, my mind, unmotivated. On those days, I just feel like going home.
But this is the part where champions stand out and push forward.
This, to me, is the true meaning of pushing one’s limits. Most people typically see it as going against your maximum capacity, like your stamina. I see it more of constantly pushing yourself even though you can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel; you can’t see results.
I think this is something everybody can learn from. Tough moments aren’t going to make you feel great. Sometimes it all just doesn’t even make sense. But when you really push yourself and keep trying, the rewards will be immense.
“You are already in pain. Get a reward out of it”
-Eric Thomas, The Hip Hop Preacher
Coming out of my shell
Now that we have actually established what goes in the lab of a Bboy, let’s talk about what happens when we start dancing for others.
So I learnt the moves and it was time to prove myself. This alone was a new daunting aspect to Bboying, especially for me.
Dancing in front of others felt like an enormous task I had to overcome. I was just really worried about screwing up and looking stupid in front of others. I didn’t want to be laughed at.
No matter how hard I tried, it seemed that everyone else was better than me anyway. Why should I bother then? Who was going to care or notice me?
The worst is that I knew exactly what I had to do. The true challenge was to get over caring about what others thought of me. I just had to overcome that, face my fears and get over myself.
But as with life, it was a lot easier said than done….
Since then, wouldn’t say I got over my fear of dancing in front of others entirely, but I definitely made a heap of progress. Let this be a real account from a real person of what dealing with fear is like. Here’s how to overcome your fear.
The quick 4-step guide to overcoming fear
1- Go Through “The Force”
This is the part you most likely hate the most. It’s the force.
It’s literally forcing yourself to do something you fear even if you feel totally awkward about it.
It is this initial push that is going to set in motion the process to get what you really want from life. It’s the most uncomfortable part, but it’s also the most beneficial.
So yes, as much as you hate it, you just got to do it. You gotta step up.
I’ts not all flowers and sunshine. It’s a stone, which you step on for better things to come.
Phil’s Note: Here’s an AMAZING video about “The Force”
2- Take It Step-by-step
Now that you have gone through the force, it’s time to take things step-by-step.
Don’t try to be a hero. I told myself I wasn’t going to become a superb Bboy overnight. Unless you are a genius or just plain brilliant, you aren’t going to make waves right away.
That’s not to say I am discouraging you. I am just saying, you are only human.
Take things progressively. You may have a plan, but don’t overanalyze or over think things.
I had trouble dancing in front of others. I didn’t aim to be a superstar in one session. When I started off fighting this fear, I did it in numbers. First, I danced in front of everyone once and called it a day. I went home, revelled in it and recognized the progress. Then I did it twice. Then thrice, and so on, you see the pattern.
Step-by-step, you start heading in the right direction.
3- Remember: It’ll Get Better
I said forcing yourself to face your fear would mean feeling totally awkward.
But hey, here’s something good: The feeling of making real progress feels totally awesome.
You may not have conquered your fears entirely, but making progress alone feels great on its own. So wallow in it! Reward yourself from taking the little aforementioned little steps you took. Recognize that good feeling you have and bring it forward.
Furthermore, people around you WILL recognize your progress too. Pretty soon your friends and family will notice the change in you and give you the compliments you deserve. Enjoy!
4- Fear Is Only A Feeling
Which can be toppled over simply with some knowledge.
That is true. That is why people like to suggest to ask yourself, “What is the worst that can happen?”
Fight fear with knowledge. Stare at it in the face. Push yourself, make progress, recognize the good feelings that actually come along with it, and watch as you start to soar.
Bboying alone has made me a more confident person in life. I don’t see why I can’t achieve greatness. I push myself and bring it the learnings to other aspects of my life. Consistent effort and overcoming fear are two forms of self-mastery to me, but the journey never ends.
As I learn and become more, I am always a student of the dance.
About the author: Alden Tan is a breakdancer who quit his job to follow his dreams of being a self-established writer and blogger. He blogs about inspiration and passion in their realest sense. You can check him his journey here!